The FLOW Rocket Fund

FLOW's Rocket Fund is a granting pool that helps academic and garage innovators turn their technologies into commercial realities through financial support and entrepreneurial education.

The Fund is an exclusive program of the Resnick Sustainability Institute at Caltech, which is dedicated to supporting the cutting-edge research and creative problem solving necessary to change the balance of the world’s sustainability. The Rocket Fund enables sustainability-related innovations to progress towards commercial reality, where they can have an impact beyond the university laboratory.

In partnership with the Emerging Technologies Coordinating Council (ETCC), a consortium of California utilities, and the Moxie Foundation, the Fund provides awards from $25,000 - $75,000 to help students or new graduates starting companies turn lab innovations into product prototypes, ready for testing with customers.

Interested candidates should check Rocket Fund Guidelines and fill out the Rocket Fund Application Form which will then be screened for eligibility. Selected applicants prepare a business presentation for further consideration by Rocket Fund Advisors. Those moving forward will be invited to present in person to the Rocket Fund Review Panel of technical and industry experts. Those receiving an award sign a Memorandum of Understanding agreement focused on fulfilling the goals outlined in the application but otherwise unrestricted.

Why You Should Apply

  • $25,000 - $75,000 in non-equity grants for cleantech startups
  • Opportunity to work with California’s largest utilities
  • Introductions to experts in product development, scale up and manufacturing
  • Access to legal advice, channels to lab testing facilities and expertise and funding opportunities

What the Fund Covers

  • Validated lab scale software or hardware technologies
  • Topics: Energy Efficiency; Demand Response; Smart and Microgrid; Data Analytics and Energy Management; Zero Net Energy technologies; Energy Storage; Renewables and Agriculture/Water Energy Nexus. For a complete list, check the Rocket Fund Application Guidelines.
  • Fund’s scope: Initial product design; commercial engineering; prototype build out; field testing; equipment purchase; select consulting support for specialized tasks such as programming user interfaces and manufacturing process development and scale up; product certification; lab testing for technology/product validation and manufacturing. 

Application & Eligibility

  • Rocket Fund Application Guidelines
  • Application Form
  • The Rocket Fund supports companies led by students, new graduates and garage entrepreneurs. We do accept a number of pre-commercial, validated proof-of-principle research projects with commercial promise; however, it is important that the project leader be actively considering or be on the way to incorporation, and connecting with potential partners and customers.
  • Ventures may not have received equity capital totaling more than $750,000 prior to selection as a Rocket Fund winner.
  • A significant percentage of the final score for the Rocket Fund awards will be assigned to furthering the mission of the Emerging Technologies Coordinating Council. For ETCC areas of interest, check “Recent Reports”.
  • See Application Guidelines for details about what the Rocket Fund looks for.

Partnering Opportunites

The Fund is a Membership organization governed by a Membership Board, consisting of Member representatives including the Founders the Resnick Sustainability Institute, the ETCC and the Moxie Foundation. The Fund’s Review Panel reviews applications and makes the awards with advice from the Rocket Fund Technology Advisory Committee (TAC). We are seeking partners from the cleantech industry, academia and the investment community to join the Fund’s TAC and support the Rocket Fund with technical advice and industry expertise. The role of the TAC will be to assess the business potential and technical viability of applications; recommend initial and second stage awards; and provide in kind support, where mutually beneficial. In return, TAC members gain early access to exciting technologies and fast moving companies that can provide business leads and connections to award winning innovators.

The Rocket Fund offers partners a variety of ways, including the TAC, to participate through a tiered Rocket Fund Membership program. To learn more about becoming a Rocket Fund member contact Stephanie Yanchinski, Executive Director of FLOW/Rocket Fund, 626-395-1968

Founding Partners

Emerging Technologies Coordinating Council
Moxie Foundation
The mission of the Resnick Sustainability Institute is to foster transformational advances in energy science and technology through research, education and communication.


Moxie Foundation
Southern California Edison
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
San Diego Gas and Electric
Southern California Gas Company
Sacramento Municipal Utilities District
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
EPRI: Electric Power Research Institute
Itron, Inc.
KPPB is an IP law firm dedicated to protecting clients' brands, products and ideas through a variety of legal strategies.
The mission of the Resnick Sustainability Institute is to foster transformational advances in energy science and technology through research, education and communication.